OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy – 79th Session

The 79th session of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy which will take place at the OECD Headquarters

July 1-2, 2019

Paris, France

The Deputy Secretary-General responsible for the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Mr. Ulrik Knudsen, and the Director for STI, Mr. Andrew Wyckoff, will report on the main developments in the Directorate and at the OECD and beyond, which are of interest to the Committee.

Going Digital project

The Committee will be updated on the outcomes of the Going Digital Summit held on 11-12 March 2019, including the launches of the Going Digital synthesis report Going Digital: Shaping Policies, Improving Lives, the companion report Measuring the Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for the Future and the Going Digital toolkit, as well as proposed outreach activities to promote the work.

Artificial Intelligence

The Committee will be updated on progress made regarding the adoption of the Council Recommendation on AI and the publication of the analytical report on Artificial Intelligence. It will also be requested to approve the declassification of DSTI/CDEP(2019)1, which includes the proposal by the AIGO experts group to the CDEP.

At OECD Ministerial, Business Engages on Digital Transformation

L-R: Peter Robinson (USCIB), OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, Andrew Wyckoff (OECD), Charles Johnston (Citi)

On May 22-23, a strong delegation of global business leaders participated in the 2019 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, stressing the need for integrated policies that will enable business to fully deliver on the potential from the digital transformation for economies and societies.

This pivotal exchange platform allowed global members and corporate leaders affiliated with Business at OECD (known by the acronym BIAC), part of USCIB’s global network, to convey what business needs from international collaboration to promote both economic growth and inclusion. The high-level dialogue featured multiple interactions with ministers of economy, trade, foreign affairs, and finance from 36 OECD countries and key non-member economies. Senior business leaders – including Peter Robinson, USCIB’s president and CEO, Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, BIAC Vice Chair Charles Johnston, managing director of global government affairs with Citi and a USCIB board member, and Saori Dubourg, board member from BASF – formally addressed ministers during the program.

The OECD Ministerial outcomes and adopted instruments reflected critical policy recommendations from the 2019 Business at OECD Statement to Ministers, notably the need to appropriately involve stakeholders as future policy recommendations are developed, guidance that will enable data governance based on trust, and continued support for OECD evidence and facts on tax, competition and trade, including on tracking market distorting support measures and barriers. BIAC commended the adoption of the OECD Artificial Intelligence principles and the creation of an OECD Observatory on AI – business involvement in this area will be critical to achieve innovation in a number of fields including health, environment, and anti-corruption.

While in Paris, USCIB’s Robinson BIAC Secretary General Russel Mills and Senior Director Nicole Primmer attended a reception for ministers at the U.S. Mission to the OECD hosted by U.S. Charge d’Affaires Andrew Havilland. Robinson added that the week’s activities “gave me an opportunity to connect with the OECD leadership, including Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, the newly appointed OECD deputy secretary general from the United States.”

BIAC members also convened for the 5th occasion the current G20 and B20 (Business 20) presidencies to share business recommendations to G20 leaders ahead of the Osaka Summit. The event featured the participation of the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Shinya Katanozaka, president and CEO of ANA Holdings, and the OECD’s leadership. Business speakers from BIAC’s French and German national members MEDEF and BDI, its Argentinian observer UIA, and from Accenture also debated views with five G20 sherpas and senior government officials. In this meeting, Business at OECD Chair Phil O’Reilly affirmed the importance of ensuring continuity and frank exchanges across presidencies to achieve tangible outcomes in G20 declarations and implementation actions.

Earlier, the Business at OECD Annual General Assembly brought together BIAC’s executive board, leadership from national organizations from 30 OECD and non-OECD countries, and associate expert groups to discuss our strategic priorities for global governance and national challenges. The meeting also benefited from a conversation with leadership from 12 major BIAC policy groups to present the OECD agenda across critical issues, our business perspectives, and the role the OECD can play in these fields.

Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, deputy secretary general of the OECD, gave a keynote address to participants on major OECD initiatives affecting businesses, and Alvaro Pereira, director of the Country Studies Branch of the OECD Economics Department, responded to insights from BIAC’s 2019 Economic Survey, and also shared main themes from the 2019 OECD Economic Outlook.

USCIB Applauds Approval of OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), applauds the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) approval on May 22 of the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Working through Business at OECD (BIAC), a core group of USCIB members participated in a special, 50+ member experts group that was convened to scope these principles. They contributed directly to the development of five complementary, values-based principles for the responsible development and stewardship of trustworthy AI and five recommendations for public policy and international cooperation.

Importantly, these principles are not prescriptive. They highlight human-centered values, fairness, transparency, robust security, and accountability as foundational elements for AI deployment that will ensure inclusive growth, sustainable development and well-being. The principles, which were developed through multistakeholder dialogue involving input from business, government, civil society, the technical community, and labor unions, also recognize the appropriate role of governments in creating an enabling environment for research and development to drive innovation in trustworthy AI. They call upon governments to develop mechanisms to share data and knowledge and programs to equip people with digital skills so they can transition to new employment that will harness AI for economic and societal good. The OECD’s 36 member countries, along with Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Romania, who signed up to the AI Principles at the organization’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting today in Paris, further agreed to cooperate across borders and sectors to share information, and develop international, interoperable standards to ensure safe, fair and trustworthy AI.

“USCIB is honored that its members played a direct role in shaping principles that will enable us to tap the extraordinary potential of Artificial Intelligence in a manner that will improve economic and societal well-being across diverse sectors such as energy and the environment, healthcare, and transportation, to name a few,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “Perhaps most important, these principles include important safeguards that keep human-centered values at the core of AI deployment and prevail upon all ‘AI actors’ to respect democratic values throughout the AI system lifecycle, commit to transparency, and to demonstrate accountability, among other responsibilities. We see a bright future ahead and look forward to the adoption of these principles by OECD members and non-members alike,” added Robinson.

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

Governments Actively Engaged at WTO E-Commerce Negotiations

In an effort to support e-commerce negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), USCIB has been contributing to the Digital Trade Network, led by Nick Ashton-Hart.

Ashton-Hart participated in the Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce’s (JSI) first substantive negotiating round in Geneva May 13-15, which was based upon a subset of the subjects in the 14 contributions of WTO Members. Topics covered included online consumer protection, electronic authentication and electronic signatures, Electronic transactions framework, domestic regulation, transparency, non-discriminatory treatment of digital products, and many others.

According to Ashton-Hart, the level of engagement was quite high, the tone very constructive and collaborative, and quite a few countries that have not yet tabled proposals said they expect to do so. There was a general view that the services-related elements of the outcome agreement are intended to build upon GATS though it remains an open question what form the agreement will take – not surprising or seen as controversial at the present.

The next session will take place June 18-20, in Geneva, with proposals to be considered due June 6. The session will cover, among other subjects, privacy and data protection, cybersecurity and telecommunications. There will be at least two seminars from industry groups on logistics and the flow of data respectively.

Earlier this year, Ashton-Hart contributed a column in USCIB’s quarterly magazine, International Business, regarding the importance and impact of these global talks on online trade. Click here to view.

Doran Klein Contributes Expertise on Taxation of Digitalizing Economy at Pacific Rim Conference

USCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein presented at the ninth annual Pacific Rim Tax Conference on Digital Economy Tax Issues, held May 9-10 in California. Doran Klein’s panel covered the ongoing work on taxation of the digitalizing economy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and the United Nations. The panel provided an overview of the background including Action 1 of the OECD’s Base-Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, digital services taxes and other unilateral interim measures, and the different options under consideration at the OECD.

Other topics covered at the conference included: International Aspects of Tax Policy and Enacted Legislation: Did it Work?; Corporate Restructuring in Light of Tax Legislation and BEPS; and Transfer Pricing, Documentation and International Tax. High-level government tax officials from Australia, Canada, India and Vietnam attended the conference as well.

USCIB will be hosting its own tax conference, alongside the OECD and Business at OECD June 3-4 in Washington DC. Now in its 14th year, this annual conference provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. business community to interact with key representatives from the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (“CTPA”) as well as key members of the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs.

For more information visit USCIB’s tax conference registration page.

USCIB Shapes Launch of OECD Review of Privacy Guidelines

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a special OECD workshop on May 6 aimed at advancing the mandated five-year review of the 2013 OECD Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (the “Privacy Guidelines”). A Privacy Guidelines Expert Group (PGEG), which was established earlier this year to advise and provide input to the review, proposed exploring organizational accountability via this workshop as one of the key challenges in implementing the 2013 Privacy Guidelines.

Barbara Wanner, who leads USCIB’s work on ICT policy, attended the meetings along with several USCIB members from AT&T, Facebook, Google, Mastercard, and Microsoft.

“Business underscored the importance of assuming responsibility for the privacy of data through its life cycle by conducting rigorous and documented risk assessments and mitigation, ensuring transparency through both internal and external audits, continually monitoring and testing to prevent gaps, and generally going above and beyond what is required by law,” said Wanner.

USCIB members also took the lead in drafting a Business at OECD (BIAC) statement setting forth BIAC’s priorities for the OECD’s review of the 2013 Privacy Guidelines.

“This statement will inform BIAC interventions in Privacy Guidelines Review in the coming months and help to shape refinements to 2013 Privacy Guidelines that ensure its continued relevance as a global standard for privacy frameworks as the digital economy continues to evolve,” added Wanner.

The OECD also held its meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) Working Party Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE) from May 6-7. The Committee moved forward work focused on revising an OECD Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online, developing principles for access to and sharing of data, advancing the Global Forum for Digital Security for Prosperity, and adopting the draft Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence. The Working Parties on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP) and Measurement and Analysis in the Digital Economy (MADE) met during this period as well. CISP agreed to undertake an ambitious review of the OECD’s 2004 Recommendation on Broadband Development.

OECD Working Party on Measurement & Analysis of the Digital Economy

OECD Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy

Paris, France

May 6-7 2019

OECD Headquarters

Topics for discussion will include:

  • Measuring the Digital Transformation: a measurement roadmap for the future
  • Going Digital Toolkit
  • Measuring the diffusion of Artificial Intelligence related technologies in business
  • AI concepts and definitions
  • Measuring AI diffusion in practice
  • Measuring Trust
  • Using the Internet as a data-source to Measure the Digital Transformation
  • Business ICT usage survey microdata analysis
  • Making the Digital Economy visible in economic statistics
  • Measuring and valuing data and data flows
  • Information items and other business

Member country delegates and BIAC should register for the meeting through their Paris-based delegations. Other participants should contact the OECD Secretariat to register (Marion.Barberis@oecd.org and Celia.Valeani@oecd.org)

USCIB Co-Sponsors Reception to Promote OECD Trade Priorities

Dominik Kümmerle (Business at OECD), Cliff Sosnow (Business at OECD Trade Committee), Pat Ivory (Ibec, Business at OECD Trade Committee), Eva Hampl (USCIB), Russell Mills (Business at OECD), Julia Nielson (OECD Trade Directorate)

USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl joined global business colleagues from Business at OECD and Irish Business (Ibec) to co-sponsor a reception in Paris on April 25 to officially launch a report “Business at OECD Considerations for Trade and Investment – Priorities for Future OECD Work.” Th event was held in conjunction with the OECD Trade Committee meetings which took place the week of April 22, and built on the report by reinforcing the relationship between Business at OECD and the OECD Trade Committee.

Chair of the OECD Trade Committee Ambassador Didier Chambovey, who serves as head of the Swiss Permanent Mission to the WTO and EFTA, made a few opening remarks at the reception, underlining the importance of the relationship between Business at OECD and the OECD Trade Committee. Pat Ivory, vice chair of the Business at OECD Trade Committee joined Hampl in making a few comments, highlighting issues of importance to Business at OECD and USCIB’s respective economies and business more broadly.

In her remarks, Hampl noted the challenges the global economy is faced with in the midst of so many countries turning inward denouncing globalization and promoting protectionist policies. “In that context, the most effective way to push back is with empirical evidence—on issues like services, global value chains, policies related to national security and the danger of trade restrictive measures such as tariffs or quotas to the global trading system,” said Hampl. “We must look to the future of the global economy; that is why the work that is currently being done on digital trade at the OECD is invaluable to business – all of our companies operate in the digital space and understanding exactly how the digital economy works is key to successfully regulating this space.

While in Paris, Hampl also attended the OECD Trade Committee meetings April 22-26. According to Hampl, while there were many issues on the agenda, the clear focus across the board was on digital trade. “While the OECD does not directly engage in the WTO E-Commerce negotiation, there is a keen awareness the role the analytical work done at the OECD can play in advancing the negotiations at the WTO,” said Hampl. To that end, Business at OECD circulated a paper on what business is looking for in the WTO E-Commerce negotiations and how the OECD can contribute to the effort.

In addition to attending the official sessions of the OECD Trade Committee, where Business at OECD made interventions on the preparations for the Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) in May 2019, the Interim Economic Outlook, and Digital Trade, Business at OECD also held its own meeting focused on business priorities. That meeting included an extensive exchange on the Committee’s priorities and next steps where much of the conversation centered on digital trade in its various forms, but also addressed broader issues like China and the state of the global economy. A dinner with OECD leadership also provided a great opportunity to informally exchange views on these important issues.

 

USCIB Meets With WTO Deputy Secretary General Alan Wolff

Right: Alan Wolff (WTO) speaks to USCIB members alongside Rob Mulligan (USCIB)

USCIB hosted the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Deputy Secretary General Alan Wolff on April 29 at its Washington office.

The meeting, which was attended by many USCIB members, including Chubb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Visa and Verizon, provided an opportunity for USCIB staff and members to get Wolff’s insights into the current working of the WTO, raise questions about key initiatives such as e-commerce, discuss emerging proposals for reform of the WTO and identify key concerns for U.S. companies on global trade. Wolff began his four-year term as deputy director general in 2017.

“Alan is a leading voice on trade policy in Washington, DC who often participated in the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee meetings and has a long history of working in key trade roles in the government and the private sector,” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan. “We look forward to continuing our engagement with him as the WTO reform process gets underway.”

USCIB has been active on WTO reform, voicing concerns many U.S. companies share. Earlier this month, USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil for a day-long seminar organized by CNI, the Brazilian industry confederation. Donnelly was joined by private-sector groups from Argentina, Brazil, the European Union, and Mexico in a joint statement of the critical importance the WTO is to business.

USCIB Joins Coalition in Urging Specific US Government Action on US-China Trade

USCIB joined Americans for Free Trade, a multi-industry coalition consisting of over 150 members, to send a letter to President Donald Trump on April 22 regarding upcoming U.S.-China trade talks.

The Coalition letter urged the U.S. government to fully and immediately remove all recently imposed tariffs, including U.S. tariffs and China’s retaliatory tariffs as part of a final deal, while also encouraging the U.S. to come up with a deal that levels the playing field for U.S. companies by achieving meaningful changes to address China’s unfair trade practices that put American technology, innovation and intellectual property at risk.

Regarding unfair trade practices, the letter stated: “For too long, China has engaged in unfair trading practices, including forced technology transfer, cyber theft, intellectual property violations and more. We hope any final deal will resolve the structural issues that are at the core of the trade dispute in order to fully protect American technology, innovation, and intellectual property.”

The letter also urged the government to avoid any enforcement mechanism that would trigger further tariffs and obtain clarity on how the tariff exemption process will be carried out in the event of a deal.

Finally, the group also urged an economic assessment by the Administration examining the costs of tariffs for American businesses and consumers.

Americans for Free Trade represents companies that employ tens of millions of American workers and provide goods and services to virtually every corner of the United States.